Shoes – The $1500 Wardrobe Part II
Creating a versatile, sharp wardrobe doesn’t happen overnight. By far, the best course of action is to go slow. But for argument’s sake, let’s say you need a major wardrobe makeover, stat. Over the next 5 days we’ll see how far a strict budget of $1500 can go. And this year, we’re going back to our roots.
Prices have gone up everywhere, but instead of raising the ceiling to make this, say, the $2000 Wardrobe, we’re accepting the challenge. The outcome might not impress the menswear snobs, but why care? The goal is to balance quality with affordability, and accessibility with versatility. Not every last stitch (like underwear) will be covered. We’re not burning the clothes that are already in the closet. The goal is finish with a setup of clothes that can have someone looking great in most situations. The focus will be on affordable goods which can last with reasonable care. Also know that since tailoring costs can vary wildly, those haven’t been added to the final cost.
The Burgundy Oxford: Jack Erwin Jasper in Burgundy Full Grain – $195
Goodyear welted, solid leather, and more modern design details like that medallion at the toe. Most like brown shoes, but Burgundy has that extra something. They’ll work just as well with a navy suit as they will with dark denim and a cotton blazer, and don’t feel like a dark brown belt won’t match well enough. It will.. Do they feel as bullet-proof as a pair of Allen Edmonds? Not quite. But with price jumps seemingly everywhere in the shoe world (many AEs are now pushing four bills full retail), Jack Erwin might be the best shoe you can get for under $200 on a consistent basis. Wear these. Love these. Save for something more expensive in the future, or, another couple pairs of JEs. Ships and returns free. Full review here.
The Black Oxford: Massimo Mateo 6-Eye Balmoral – $159.00
There’s no way around it… despite many in the Men’s style community seeming to aggressively favor brown shoes, you’re gonna need a pair of dressed up black oxfords at some point. These appear to be the Zappos version of DSW’s Mercanti Fiorentini house brand. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if these are made by the same company, just branded differently for Zappos. Made in Italy, an almost certainly glued (not stitched) sole, but if they’re like Mercanti Fiorentini (really betting that they’re almost if not exactly the same in terms of construction) a well made less-fortunate-man’s Fifth Ave. homage all the same. Ships & returns free.
The Casual Boot: Clarks Bushacre Chukka in Dark Brown Leather – $68.87
Much darker in person than on Amazon (that right there ^ is what the “dark brown” option looks like in person). A classic casual desert boot in a dark brown leather. Slight variations in tone give the uppers some depth, and they should look even better once they see some wear and some scuffing. Why the Bushacre model instead of the traditional “Original” desert boot? Two reasons: 1. They’re cheaper. 2. The man made sole seems to show less dirt and grime, compared to the natural crepe sole of the Clarks Original Desert Boot.
The Classic Sneaker: Superga COTU Classic in Grey – $65.00
America is to Chuck Taylors as Italy is to the Superga COTU Classic. Plus, many find Chucks to be incredibly uncomfortable after standing in them for any length of time. A bit more cushioning here. Easily worn with beat up chinos and a t-shirt, or with jeans and a cotton blazer. Washable, and the grey-shade should keep them looking fresher than a white or off-white option.
TOTAL COST: $487.87
CASH REMAINING: $441.25
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